The Birth of a Champ
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief.  And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to to happen.” ~Muhammad Ali~
I remember the first time I met Jen.  That would be Jen Hendershott, multiple time Ms. Fitness International and Ms. Fitness Olympia Jen Hendershott.  I thought she was CA-RAZY. 🙂  She was intense.  And I don’t just mean in her exercise (although I didn’t walk straight for a week).  She was unwaivered in her faith, her purpose for what she was doing with the women who had gathered at her camp, her creativity, her desire to have fun and her discipline to win the title once more before she retired on her own terms.  Jen wasn’t some twenty year old who I could envy for not having life experience and lack of body parts going south due to age.  She was older than me and as strong and solid as anyone I had ever met in person.
Before I left, I had a conversation with her about how intimidated I felt about being in the “business” because I was a bigger girl (this picture is from our third camp together.  I had lost twenty pounds by then but if you are in the industry, you know EXACTLY what I mean), I was older, I was African-American and just not your ideal fitness personality.  I didn’t know as much as I wanted or felt like I needed to and sometimes I felt, well, hated because my natural abilities, creativity and love for people could put me ahead of people who had all of the formal training.  I felt discouraged like I was never going to lose the weight again.  I’d never be want I wanted to be or reach my goals.  Her words to me? 

“Says who?”  (hence the tattoo on my back)

Either way, what we repeat becomes our truth.  Until that point, I had told myself I wasn’t good enough and I would never get over that “hump”.  I had done it before and I didn’t know how because I felt so defeated all of the time, so injured, so limited, so lazy and so hungry .  I left that camp in January, 2008 with a different mind set .  It was a God set-up because my life fell apart after that.  Each storm that came through was a little harder and more ferocious and I kept thinking, “I am not made for this.  I can’t do it.”  I could hear Jen’s words, “Says who?” and I’d get back up, dust myself off and try again.
It’s the same thing in the weight loss journey.
What do you really want?  And how can you speak that into your life so things REALLY start to happen?  When I believed I could take control of my life, without gimmicks, without quick fixes, by being willing to get inside of my own negative thoughts and give MYSELF power, things started to happen.  Let me be clear that there is NO WORD I could say that would stop me from gaining weight if I kept eating 1 pound of dark chocolate almonds a day 🙂 but what I am saying is that I was eating them because I felt empty and unworthy. Once I could speak aloud my fears and my wants, I had no reason to hide behind my food or be “nourished” from it.  I was being “nourished” by my desire to live my best life and I knew I wanted to be healthy and HAPPY and that was bigger than anything.
Did you catch that?
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms.  Champions are made from something they have deep inside them; a desire, a vision.  They have to have a skill, and the WILL.  But the WILL must be stronger than the skill.”  ~Muhammad Ali~
Today is Muhammad Ali’s birthday; a magnificent champion and one who DEFINITELY has the “says who” attitude.  🙂  Today could be the birth of YOUR inner champion.  Do you have the will to speak over what has been holding you back?  YOU have the power.  Exercising it is totally up to you.  
Thanks, Tomeka, for the quotes of inspiration.  🙂

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